Despite the fact that people accept their existence and usage in the day-to-day life, there has been no agreed definition for the term fallacy. Different people come up with different definitions depending on the applicability of the term and the nature of the situation in which the term is being used. However, some elements of the definition remain constant regardless of the context of usage. The fact that the term is used to refer to an erroneous reasoning that leads to a wrongful conclusion about a fact.
In some definitions, a fallacy is referred to as an invalid deductive reasoning instrument while others define it as an argument with minimal validity and strength (IEP, 2011). Despite the differences in the two definitions, it is evident that these they have a commonality of invalidity or error in an argument that has been put forward. Many fallacies are in existence and are applied on several occasions in our lives. The nature of a fallacy depends on the context within which it is being used.
This paper focused on one fallacy, guilty by association. Many people in the society apply this fallacy. This fallacy is one among the many version of ad hominem (a fallacy that is made through an outrageous comment of an argument of an individual by stating that the comment undermines the argument and not the individual while in real sense it does).
In guilty by association, a person is presumed guilty of an error due to the mere fact that he/she belongs to a particular group. Here, people make unfair judgements based on circumstances rather than the actual argument that has been out forward.
Political sex scandals are good example on how the fallacy of guilty by association has been put into practice especially by the media to influence the reasoning and actions of the public.
A good number of politicians have been involved in a number of sex scandals. Due to the shame and unpopularity that they face, most of the politicians who have been involved in sex scandals have been forced to resign if they do not step out of office at their own will. It is therefore an assumption that all politicians who are involved in sex scandals should resign from office.
Several articles have been written on this topic, with the most recent one that was published by Britni Daniel, a journalist for a local magazine in Los Angeles. In her article, Britni focused on the Andrew Weiner incident (Danielle, 2011). Mr. Weiner, a congressional representative was caught on a sex scandal after he posted dirty photographs of himself in one of the social media networks. Once he was found guilty, the politician faced a lot of pressure from the public to resign from office.
The media played a critical role of inciting the public to force the politician out of office. This is because, it is like a tradition that once a politician has been found guilty of a sex scandal, he/she should step out of office. Mass actions, publications and articles such as the one written by Brinti will be made to force politicians involved in sex scandals out of office. Weiner was not an exception.
This should not always be the case. People should not generalize situations and treat them universally due to the fact that the nature of the action is the same. In the case of sec scandals, there are politicians who have fought and remained in office and proved to change their characters. A good example is Bill Clinton. Therefore, people should be given a chance to prove themselves.
Danielle, B. (2011). Should Politicians Caught in Sex Scandals Resign? Clutch Magazine Online. Retrieved on 14th June 2011 from http://clutchmagonline.com/2011/06/qotd-should-politicians-caught-in-sex-scandals-resign/
IEP. (2011). Fallacies. Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Retrieved on 14th July 2011 from http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#Appeal%20to%20Ignorance